Replica shirts and TV remotes have barely had a chance to collect dust since the last Premier League campaign ended, but we’re ready to go in 2020/21 with another dramatic season in store.
Premier League fixtures are all confirmed, TV schedules have been drawn up and, although stadiums will be empty for the start of the season at least, teams will be feeling the pressure already at the start of another tough slog.
RadioTimes.com is here to bring you our Premier League predictions for the season including a full predicted table – featuring title winners, dark horses and relegation favourites – as well as a run-down of some of the key players to look out for over the course of the season.
Of course, we’re going to look like fools or oracles by the time we reach May, but we will plough ahead regardless.
Check out our Premier League predictions for 2020/21
Premier League 2020/21 table predicted
With such a short spell between seasons, little pre-season action to base predictions on, and transfer activity yet to be completed, I’m going to dive right in with our predicted Premier League table for the 2020/21 season.
Do you agree? (Of course you don’t!)
- Man City
- Man Utd
- Sheffield United
- Aston Villa
- Crystal Palace
- West Ham
- West Brom
Premier League title race
For the first time in 30 years, Liverpool begin a league title defence, and they’re best-placed to accomplish it.
In Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, they boast match-winners. In Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, they boast a solid core. In Virgil van Dijk and their attacking full-backs, they boast a defence that can hold firm as well as torment.
A lack of signings shouldn’t be seen as a backwards or sideways move, just a display of faith from Jurgen Klopp towards his youngsters. The likes of Curtis Jones and Rhian Brewster are in line for greater opportunities, akin to Mason Mount’s Chelsea breakthrough, and by the end of the season, expect a couple of Liverpool kids to be household names. Takumi Minamino has also sparkled in pre-season.
Manchester City humbled the champions during their 2019/20 lockdown fixture, sparking a knee-jerk shift towards City being favourites in 2020/21, but we remain unconvinced by that defence.
Phil Foden should step in to fill the boots of David Silva, but City lack harmony at the back that cost them so often last season. They’re the sort of team who will romp their way to three successive 5-0 victories before losing against a mid-table unit who refuse to submit.
Nathan Ake is not the commandeering, swaggering centre-back City have craved since Vincent Kompany left the door, and they may well succumb to a few too many defeats once again, even though the title race should be a closer-run affair this time around.
We shouldn’t ignore Chelsea either. They’re a box of puzzle pieces right now, and Frank Lampard must hope he can click the individuals together into one cohesive unit.
The signings of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have the potential to be two of the very best Premier League transfer deals in a long time, while Christian Pulisic is a low-key contender to be the star of the season across the whole league. Yes, really.
The US star is one of the most rapid players we’ve seen, and given a run in the side, he proved his capabilities as a goalscorer and provider. Expect huge things from Captain America in 2020/21.
I’m backing Chelsea to fight in the title race for at least two thirds of the season. Their defensive resilience is something to worry about, though Thiago Silva will hopefully bring experience and calm to a jittery backline.
Manchester United enjoyed a terrific time at the back-end of last season, mostly inspired by Bruno Fernandes pulling strings in the middle alongside Paul Pogba.
The trident of Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial is expected to run riot once again this year, providing teams don’t begin to suss them out.
Personally, I believe Martial is particularly exciting. His hold-up play looked very impressive last season. He produced more complete performances than crude ‘run, run, run, shoot, repeat’. The Frenchman was very aware of his partners in crime and would happily sneak a ball through to his teammates if they made the right run.
Wolves’ transfer dealings continue to impress fans and neutrals alike with Wolverhampton closer resembling a small colony of Portugal as opposed to a city in the Midlands.
Young Fabio Silva arrives with enormous, world-beating potential, and though expectations should be reserved at this point, he will be given time to impress this season.
Conor Coady made his England debut the other night with a typically loud-mouthed performance, in the best way possible. He is a terrific leader and will marshal his defensive unit impeccably once again.
If Raul Jimenez can maintain his scoring record, Adama Traore’s shoulder stays in place, and Daniel Podence builds on his sparkles of top talent, Wolves could be in for a wild ride in 2020/21.
North London duo Arsenal and Tottenham remain outside bets for the Champions League, but it’s Arsenal fans who should feel most excited. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is proven quality and has shown no signs of slowing down his fantastic production rate.
Heavy investment across the back and some improved, gutsy defensive performances under lockdown restrictions have raised hopes that the Gunners can hold on in big games.
Spurs will be relieved to have Harry Kane fully fit to start the campaign, and he showed glimmers of his very best form at the end of the last campaign.
They have made industrious signings, as opposed to spine-tingling, but a more balanced squad should ease Jose Mourinho’s side to a more stable season, albeit an unspectacular one.
Finally, Everton and Leicester could be acquainted on the outskirts of the Europa League places.
Everton have suckered us all into believing they will be a force this season for what feels like the fifth season in a row. The Toffees faithful are accustomed to spending big bucks, expecting much and receiving little in return.
The signing of Allan could be crucial to establishing a steely midfield, something they’ve lacked in recent years, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are capable of 30 Premier League goals between them at least.
Is the bubble bursting for Leicester? It’s too early to definitively say, but without Jamie Vardy, they’d have fallen way, way, way short of Europe last season.
Their incredible pre-Christmas form was followed up by an even more shocking collapse. A fully-fit Wilfried Ndidi should aid the cause, but while Ben Chilwell was one of many stars whose form plunged in 2020, his absence leaves them looking a little light in the way of star quality.
There will be no shame in missing out on the top 10 this season. Almost every team in the league could make a case for finishing in the top half, and of course, many will fall short.
Sheffield United didn’t enjoy the best lockdown period, but that doesn’t mean they’re bound for a second-season drop-off.
The Blades have added some lovely talents to their ranks completely under the radar. Derby full-backs Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe have arrived to reinforce the backline, while Aaron Ramsdale replaced Man Utd loanee Dean Henderson between the sticks. Chelsea hot prospect Ethan Ampadu is a versatile star to add into the mix.
Chris Wilder is padding out an impressive squad with shrewd talents that should keep his beloved team safely in the top half.
Newcastle and Southampton should be watched closely in 2020/21 as two teams who underperformed last year.
The Magpies need to move on from their takeover disappointment and unexpectedly give credit where it’s due to Mike Ashley and the top brass for facilitating some excellent deals in the window.
Former Bournemouth deadly duo Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser will link back up with former teammate Matt Ritchie, while Jamal Lewis is an excellent pick-up in defence. If the exciting Allan-Saint Maximin, improving Miguel Almiron and under-fire Joelinton can hit their stride early on, Newcastle could be a genuine threat in 2020/21.
I’m prepared to very wrong with my next pick, but I’m tipping Aston Villa to significantly improve this time around.
Jack Grealish looks set to stay, a massive boost, and the signature of Ollie Watkins represents a real show of faith from the owners to back Dean Smith – who is reunited with his former Brentford main man.
Villa simply must improve at the back, but have added Matty Cash to their ranks and will hope for more reinforcements. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero has been linked and would prove to be an outstanding signing if they manage it.
They showed excellent character to dig out of the hole at the end of the season, and whenever I watched Villa last season, their overall performances weren’t awful, they simply lacked a little spark up top and gave away silly goals at the back. Small improvements could add up to make a big difference.
Leeds. Well. Leeds are a wildcard, a complete wildcard. They could finish anywhere between 7th and 20th and neither I – nor anyone else in the country – would be surprised. In Bielsa They Trust.
As for Burnley, they’re an astute defensive unit who have consistently punched above their budget. Sean Dyche is the most underrated coach in the Premier League, and has consistently dragged an average team to above-average heights.
Burnley are always underestimated, and probably have been here, but fans won’t really mind, as long as Dyche’s steady hand continues to rest on the wheel.
Who could be in relegation danger?
Crystal Palace continue to tread water without a fully-functioning effective goalscorer. Eberechi Eze represents great business for the club and keeping Wilfried Zaha would be a boost, but without a focal point, what is the point?
Palace need to find a Danny Ings-like poacher from somewhere, anywhere – a clinical, natural goalscorer. However, that is so much easier said than done.
This is a pivotal year for West Ham. It’s difficult to tip them to go down, based on the quality of individuals in that team, but a well-oiled machine they are not.
The fans are in uproar over the sale of Grady Diangana to West Brom, so too are the players, including Mark Noble who tweeted out his anger at the board for selling him.
It’s not a happy house in east London, but once again, those individuals talents continue to provide a glimmer of hope in the short term. Michail Antonio was one of the players of the season during lockdown in 2019/20, Tomas Soucek grew into his role and Jarrod Bowen made an impact.
If those few players continue to impress, they’ll keep West Ham afloat by the skin of their teeth, but this is going to be a rocky, rocky season for the Hammers.
It is very difficult to get excited about Brighton. They have spent heavily since coming into the Premier League, and I can barely tell you one thing they’ve really achieved since doing so.
That may seem scathing, but with such investment, fans should expect more than a consistent slew of relegation battles.
A muted summer of transfer activity may be wiser than wasting money, but the pressure is all on Graham Potter to extract a better tune from his existing crop of players, of which there are few standout performers.
Fulham and West Brom, prove me wrong. I would be happy to be proven wrong by either, but with such a strong stack of teams going into 2020/21, it’s going to be a tough slog for all three promoted sides.
Neither side was particularly reliable when it came to the crunch at the business end of the Championship season, and neither has set the world alight with their dealing over the summer.
Fulham ace Alexander Mitrovic is a Premier League class striker capable of ‘doing an Ings’ in 2020/21, you can expect 15 goals from him regardless of Fulham’s final position, but the signing of Anthony Knockaert – a player too good for the Championship but without being able to make an impact in the Premier League – doesn’t feel like the most inspiring.
West Brom boast assist-machine Matheus Pereira in an attacking role, but he will have far less time and space to weave his magic in the Premier League, while their striker options of Hal Robson Kanu, Charlie Austin and Kenneth Zohore leave a little to be desired.
For the full breakdown of what games are coming up check out our Premier League fixtures on TV guide.
If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV Guide.